The South Bryan County Recreation Department has been involved in Special Olympics for at least two years now.
But these days, it’s SNAP - or Special Needs Activities Program - taking center stage each Wednesday evening in Richmond Hill, as SBCRD looks to go beyond competition.
“We are changing from Special Olympics because the misconception was that it was athletics only and focused on competition,” said South Bryan Rec Director Kay Green. “We offer all types of activities - basketball, gardening, skating, soccer, track and field, t-ball, dancing - not just sports. And our focus is on having fun, getting out and being active and making friends. We also learn some new skills along the way.”
The program is free, thanks to support from South Coast Pediatrics, Green said, and is now offering a free t-shirt to participants, prizes and more. SNAP is also evolving as Green and SBRCD look to meet the needs of those who participate.
“Anything the parents and families want, we try to offer,” she said. “Basketball, swimming, tennis, dancing, bocce ball, soccer, track and field, t-ball, etc. We usually run each for a month. Then we change to something new. It gives everyone something to look forward to.”
So far, SBRCD has offered tennis and basketball. Track and field is the focus in November, December is what Green called “the party month” and in January SNAP will offer swimming.
What’s more, there are no losers in this program, she said.
“I think everyone is a winner that gets involved with SNAP,” Green said. “However, I think I have the most fun of all. I get lots of hugs while helping to put smiles on lots of faces. I go home filled with their energy and enthusiasm for life. It’s invigorating.”
If you want to share in that energy and enthusiasm, there are opportunities to volunteer as “buddies” to work one-on-one with the participants, Green said.
For more information, call SBCR at 756-4075.